Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Hoax Alert: African Villagers Have NOT Captured a Real Life Pikachu Using Pokemon Go

  • by: Alan Duke
  • (Thu, 28 Jul 2016 18:25:25 Z)

A trending story purports that a "real life Pikachu" has been captured by people in a Kenyan village, but Lead Stories can confirm this is a hoax. Our Trendolizer system detected the fake story as trending on social media (see chart below.)

The website that published the report is known for generating huge traffic with fake stories that people share on Facebook, apparently thinking they are true. Again, it is not.

The Pokemon Go craze, which has consumed countless hours of teens and adults since the mobile app was launch this summer, has triggered many hoax reports. The latest one is one of the more creative versions.

The story includes a photo of villagers surrounding a cage holding the purported Pikachu. However, a reverse Google image search led us to the original image of the same scene with a small leopard in the cage. The hoaxers did a fine job of photoshopping the Pokemon creature into the cage.

pokemon fake photo.jpg

pokemon real photo.jpg

Pikachu had the body of a Chinchilla, ears of a rabbit, a tail with a shape of a lightning bolt, and it's fur was yellow, and had small red dots in the cheek area, nearly identical to the Pikachu we all see on TV.

The fake story of a captured Pikachi was first published in September 2015 by one site, the replicated and revised by another site amid the Pokemon Go craze.

"It had this weird electric power" says Montassar Hssine, one of the villagers who assisted in the capture of Pikachu, "We couldn't find a Pokeball anywhere so we had to catch it by hand and put it in a cage. It was sending out jolts of electricity. You can not see the electricity, we know because there were a few of us that touched it and got shocked. It wasn't a deadly shock, it was more of just a small jolt that made you pull your hand away from it. I felt like Ash Ketchum for a second" said Montassar.

If you see a version of this hoax on your Facebook timeline, please share this debunking in the comment section. The chart below shows the early trajectory of the trending story as measured by Lead Stories' Trendolizer.

About the author:

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after a 26-year career with CNN. He mainly covers entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosts a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

Spotted a hoax that you think we should investigate? Have a tip? Want to send us a correction? Contact us!

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